The ongoing fight against the destructive gypsy moth in Wisconsin will cover about a quarter-million acres this year.

The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection is holding a series of open house meetings in March, to discuss the aerial spraying efforts planned against the pest in 2015, with a good portion of the spraying taking place in counties in Northwest Wisconsin.

Four open houses are planned, all beginning at 11 a.m.:

  • March 11 in Madison at the Prairie Oak State Office Building, 2811 Agriculture Drive.
  • March 12 at the Rice Lake Public Library.
  • March 13 at the Osseo City Hall.
  • March 16 at McIntosh Memorial Library in Viroqua.

"The gypsy moth is a serious invasive pest that threatens our forests and urban trees," said Melody Walker, acting manager of the gypsy moth program at DATCP, in a news release.

"It can have a negative impact on Wisconsin's timber, paper, nursery and tourism industries," Walker said.

About 259,000 acres at 103 sites in 21 counties are targeted for aerial spraying in 2015. The areas have been identified as having increasing numbers of the gypsy moth, a bug with a voracious appetite for hundreds of species of trees and shrubs.

The counties with the largest areas to be sprayed include 46,761 acres in Eau Claire County, 44,831 acres in Dunn County, 27,962 acres in Rusk County and 27,221 acres in Trempealeau County.

Counties in Southwest and South Central Wisconsin scheduled for spraying include 13,576 acres in Richland County, 16,237 acres in Vernon County, 11,018 acres in Rock County, 710 acres in Green County and 475 acres in Lafayette County.

Aerial spraying maps are online.

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